Why you should visit Cusco
- The gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu, Cusco is the capital of the Inca Empire
- Built on Inca foundations, Cusco offers a beautiful combination of stone arches, balconies and colonial plazas
- Simply wandering the streets of the old town is atmospheric and magical
- Cusco wears its fame well and it is worth exploring the traditional Indian markets, selling alpaca and llama goods and visiting the local artisans
Our specialists 'Must Do'
As with Machu Picchu, Cusco needs little introduction, but there are many places that are often missed as tourists rush through to Machu Picchu. Head up to San Blas, Cusco's bohemian district, visiting the Inca Museum and continue further up to pass artisans in their workshops. Stay in a typical Cusqueñan colonial house for an authentic experience with fantastic personal service.
Try and coincide your visit to Cusco with the Inti Raymi festival which takes place over the summer solstice in June, re-enacted amongst the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman
A little more about Cusco
Cusco is a stunning combination of ancient Inca and colonial Spanish influences. Attractive churches, monasteries and convents are interspersed with perfectly preserved Inca walls, doorways and arches. Elaborate pulpits and gold-leafed altars contrast with colourful Quechua street vendors, lilting panpipe music and frequent parades and festivals. Of particular interest is the temple of the sun Koricancha (courtyard of gold in Quechua), which was said to be the most sumptuous temple built by the Inca Empire as it was purely dedicated to Inti, the sun.
The main attraction is the baroque church of Santo Domingo with its exquisite stonemasonry, and following the restoration of both buildings after the earthquake in 1953, a large cloister was removed revealing not one but four original chambers of the temple. Whilst visiting the Koricancha, do take time to visit the Textile Museum of Cusco, run by a lady who helps to continue Peru's heritage of the backstrap loom and works closely with villages in the Sacred Valley, to which we can organise local artisan visits.
Activities from Cusco are endless and range from horse riding, whitewater rafting, trekking, visiting weavers villages and the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Q'enko.